Showing posts from April, 2008

Iran looks eastward

The visit of the Iranian president Mr Mahmud Ahmadinejad to Islamabad may be the first step towards inaugurating a new chapter in Iran’s geopolitical vision. And the reason behind this could be Iran’s economic compulsions: it has a resource that needs to be exported to develop its national economy to the level where it can be recognised as a regional power. In an era of pipelines, geopolitics is no longer linked to invasions. From the point of view of trade, westwards of Iran, the markets for its product are small; eastwards, it has the world’s biggest “demand area” willing to pay the price Iran wants for its gas. This could be the big occasion for Iran after the Achamaenid moment in history in the 6th century BC.

Iran looked westwards in the past because of history, much of it ancient and most of it adversarial. Its vision of power grew out of its longing for a capacity to defend itself or to spread its influence. That is gradually changing and it is changing because of the markets, n…


Monday, April 28, 2008; Posted: 03:52 AM

LAHORE, Apr 28, 2008 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) -- -- The Lahore School of Economics (LSE) hosted the Fourth Annual Conference on the Management of the Pakistan Economy from April 24 to April 25, 2008.

The theme of the conference was: `Ensuring Stable and Inclusive Growth', keeping in view immediate and medium term decisions that have to be made by policy makers in the (new) post-election provincial and federal governments.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr Shahid Javed Burki, former Minister of Finance and Vice President of the World Bank.

In order to discuss pressing concerns such as poverty and inequality, and, economic problems such as inflation, the conference gathered leading economists and former policy makers such as Dr Hafeez Sheikh, former Minister of Privatisation and Minister of Finance, Sindh, Riaz Riazuddin, Economic Advisor, State Bank of Pakistan, Shahid Kardar former Minister of Finance, Punjab, Dr Ijaz Nabi, Sector Manag…

Afghan leader assails U.S. and Britain over war

By Carlotta Gall

Saturday, April 26, 2008
KABUL: President Hamid Karzai strongly criticized the British and U.S. conduct of the war in Afghanistan on Friday, saying in an interview that his government should be given the lead in policy decisions.

Karzai said that he wanted U.S. forces to stop arresting suspected Taliban and their sympathizers, and that the continued threat of arrest and past mistreatment were discouraging Taliban from coming forward to lay down their arms.

He criticized the U.S.-led coalition as prosecuting the war on terrorism in Afghan villages, saying the real terrorist threat lay in sanctuaries of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

The president said that civilian casualties, which have dropped substantially since last year, needed to cease completely. For nearly two years, the U.S.-led coalition has refused to recognize the need to create a trained police force, he said, leading to a critical lack of law and order.

The comments came as Karzai is starting to point t…

Iran hopes relations with Pakistan will further develop with advent of new Govt

Pakistan-Iran Relations
Iran has expressed the hope that bilateral relations with Pakistan in economic and other fields will be further strengthened with the advent of new democratic government in the country.

This was stated by Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Masha-Allah Shakiri while addressing a press conference here Saturday.

He said Pakistan and Iran are two brotherly Islamic countries and the bilateral ties will get further boost with the forthcoming visit of the Iranian President Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad .

To a question, he said, his country's stand on nuclear program is based on principles and it is encouraging that Pakistan supports his country's policy on it.

About China's participation in Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline, he said this project was started for three countries. All the three countries kept in view the economic, financial and technical aspects and if China was included the project would take a new shape.

He informed that his country has complete…

India, Pakistan Aim to Complete Gas Pipeline by 2012

By Khalid Qayum

April 25 (Bloomberg) -- India and Pakistan will aim to complete building a gas pipeline from Iran by December 2012, a project that the U.S. says may help finance the Middle Eastern nation's nuclear program.

Oil ministers of India and Pakistan agreed on the principles of the $7.4 billion project that's been delayed by more than a decade, counting on the pipeline to help meet their growing energy demands.

``Both countries realize the strategic importance of the project,'' Oil Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif told reporters today in Pakistan's capital Islamabad today after meeting his Indian counterpart Murli Deora. ``This project, which is vital for our economies, will usher the people of Pakistan and India into a new economic era.''

The South Asian neighbors resumed talks on the 2,100- kilometer (1,300-mile) pipeline a month after a newly elected government led by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani took office in Pakistan. The U.S., seeking to i…

Azerbaijan team terms Pakistan a heaven

This is our first visit to Pakistan,” said a member of the Azerbaijan media delegation visiting the country these days when responding briefly to a speech of welcome. “We had heard only that Pakistan was a dangerous, terrorist country but we have found it to be a ‘jannat.’ (Paradise) Thank you for your welcome and for inviting us to your beautiful country.”

The five member delegation — four males and one female — were guests of honour at a dinner hosted by Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain, which was attended by the ambassador of Azerbaijan, Eynulla Madatli other ambassadors from the CAR’s; a representative of the Afghan Embassy, DG, CAR’s and Afghanistan, Rafi uz Zaman, Dr Dushka Syed; Senators Mashahdi and Rehana Yahya Balouch and some other guests.

Addressing the gathering, the host said Azerbaijan was an important country and Pakistan valued its fraternal and friendly ties with the people and looked forward to increased bilateral relations in all…

Pakistan, India eye double gas pipeline projects for energy need

ISLAMABAD, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan and India on Friday resolved their difference on the transit fee of the much-delayed Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline project, also known as the peace pipeline.

The "complete consensus" was reached after Pakistan petroleum minister Khawaja Asif held length talks in Islamabad with his Indian counterpart Murli Deora, whose visit to Pakistan marks the first formal contact between India and Pakistan since the new Pakistani coalition government took office last month.

"We have agreed to consult with our respective government for an early conclusion of the agreement on the above issue," Deora told a press conference.

The project will not only meet gas requirements but also strengthen economic ties of the two countries, Asif said.

The IPI gas pipeline is a proposed 2,775-kilometer pipeline project to deliver natural gas from Iran to Pakistan and India, which is estimated to cost 7.5 billion U.S. dollars.


China praises Pakistan’s role in regional stability

Chinese FM congratulates Musharraf over smooth transition of democracy

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Saturday praised Pakistan’s role in promoting peace, security and regional stability and its contribution to the fight against terrorism.

He met President Pervez Musharraf and congratulated him on the smooth transition to democracy. He said that China would continue to support Pakistan in its efforts for economic development and more Chinese corporations and businesses would be encouraged to invest in Pakistan.

He said expressed satisfaction over the continued growth of the bilateral ties of the two “time-tested” and “all-weather” friendly countries.

He said that Musharraf’s recent visit to China had further consolidated the strategic partnership between the two countries. Yang said that China wanted to enhance co-operation in the fields of telecommunication networks, energy, minerals and education. He urged to intensify the people-to-people contacts.


British aid to continue for Pak economy

PESHAWAR: British Foreign Secretary David Miliband Sunday said his country is the greatest supporter of reconciliation between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He arrived Sunday in Pakistan for talks on increasing cooperation to combat terrorism, a British embassy spokesman said. Talking to journalists here, he said the security problem is the greatest issue in the area and Pak-Afghan border area is very important for his country. David Miliband said his country wants to work with Pakistan for the security concerns. Responding a question, he said Britain will continue giving aid to Pakistan for its economic progress and will keep up the ongoing development projects in the country in fulfillment of its pledges. Replying to another query, Miliband said every Briton wants the independent inquiry into Benazir Bhutto murder case. He said his government wants an independent judiciary and strong institutions in Pakistan. British foreign minister held talks on regional security with the NWFP chief m…

‘We Will Not be Blackmailed’

In an exclusive interview, Pakistan's new prime minister spells out his plans for fighting terrorism and stabilizing his volatile country.

Ron Moreau
Newsweek Web Exclusive
Updated: 12:33 PM ET Apr 21, 2008

Pakistan's newly elected Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani faces a host of pressing problems. Since taking office late last month, Gilani, 55, said that his priority would be trying to establish law and order in the wake of a spate of deadly suicide bombings, one of which killed the leader of his Pakistan People's Party, Benazir Bhutto, late last December. While Gilani ruled out holding talks with any armed militants along the Afghan border, foreign or Pakistani, he said that military force would be a last resort. First he wanted to concentrate on bringing economic development to the poverty-stricken region. The scion of a powerful landowning and spiritually influential family in Multan, which emigrated to the subcontinent from Syria some 500 years ago and which traces…

Al Baraka Islamic Bank to Invest $80M On Pakistan Expansion

Friday, Apr 18, 2008

ISLAMABAD (Dow Jones)--Bahrain-based Al Baraka Islamic BankAl Baraka Islamic BankAl Baraka Islamic Bank is planning to convert itself into a local bank in Pakistan and invest $80 million to expand its network to 30 branches from the current 12, a statement from the Pakistan Prime Minister's office said Friday.
The bank's expansion shows its confidence in the growing Pakistani economy, Mohammad Isa Al-Mutaweh, chief executive of Al Baraka Islamic BankAl Baraka Islamic BankAl Baraka Islamic , said in the statement.

Al Baraka currently operates in Pakistan as a scheduled commercial bank with its branches operating as international branches of its parent, Al Baraka Islamic BankAl Baraka Islamic BankAl Baraka Islamic Bank

. It is now seeking to operate as a local bank.

-By Islamabad Bureau; Dow Jones Newswires; 91-9900181471;

China, Pakistan sign trade deal

ISLAMABAD. Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Pakistan counterpart Pervez Musharraf have overseen the signing of a landmark free trade deal and vowed to take the allies’ strategic relationship to new heights.

The two countries also agreed to co-operate on an airborne radar system and inked a slew of pacts on defence and the economy, while Hu said Beijing would continue to help Pakistan’s nuclear power programme.

Officials said the trade agreement could triple bilateral trade to US$15 billion within five years in a key move for both the Asian economic giant and its fast-developing neighbour.

"This serves the fundamental interests of our two peoples and is also conducive to the peace and development of our region," Hu told a news conference after hour-long talks with Musharraf yesterday.

"We want to work with Pakistan to raise our strategic ties to a new level," added the Chinese leader, the first to visit this Islamic republic for a decade.

Hu later addressed the 150-m…

Musharraf lobbies Beijing to build Iran-Pakistan-China oil and gas pipelines

BEIJING: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said Monday he is lobbying Beijing to build oil and gas pipelines linking his country with China's west as the two longtime allies expand commercial ties.

China is sharply increasing oil and gas imports to fuel its booming economy, and Musharraf said he hoped it would see Pakistan as an "energy and trade corridor" to the Middle East.

"Pakistan is very much in favor of a pipeline between the Gulf and China through Pakistan and I have been speaking with your leadership, the president and the prime minister, about this," Musharraf told a student audience at Beijing's Tsinghua University.

"I'm very sure in the future — Muslims say, Inshallah — it will happen," he said.

Beijing and Islamabad have been close for decades, united partly by their common distrust of neighboring India.

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UK’s £20m Pakistan injection on World Health day

Al-Arab, London - The Department for International Development (DFID) marked World Health Day by announcing a cash injection of £20 million for the Government of Pakistan’s healthcare system.

The funding will be used to support the National Health Facility and the Government’s National Maternal, Newborn and Child Health initiative.

These programmes could save up to 65,000 children’s lives, 5,000 mothers’ lives and protect 32 million children from polio in 2008 alone.

International Development Minister Shahid Malik welcomed this contribution to Pakistan’s healthcare system: "This injection of funds will go a long way to help Pakistan reach the Millennium Development Goals to cut child deaths and improve mothers’ health.

"I am pleased the UK government and our team in Pakistan led by Eric Hawthorn is leading the way this World Health Day assisting Pakistan’s progress to tackling poverty and becoming increasingly prosperous with a growing economy.

"There’s clear evidence that…

Pak bourse hits all-time high

Published: Friday, 28 March, 2008, 09:15 AM Doha Time

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s stock market closed at a record high yesterday, buoyed by a sense of political stability in the country after a new prime minister was inaugurated.
Banking, oil and cement stocks led the Karachi Stock Exchange 100 Index to hit 15,307 by mid-morning, then went down slightly to close at 15,275, an increase of 0.5%, or 77 points, from Wednesday’s close of 15,198.
“On the political side, things are moving in the right direction,” JS Global Capital director Mohamed Sohail said. “Stability is on the cards.”
Yousuf Raza Gilani was sworn in as prime minister on Tuesday as head of a coalition government after a year in which Pakistan saw a state of emergency, the sacking of top judges, a boycotted presidential election and the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.
Pakistan’s market is protected from the current global economic turmoil because it’s a more local economy with only about 6% of the market’s capital…

PIA starts new flight to Lahore

Published: Sunday, 13 April, 2008, 12:48 AM Doha Time

PAKISTAN’S national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), has started a new non-stop flight from Doha to Lahore, airline country manager Mohamed Shafiq said yesterday.
“The additional flight is aimed at the passengers’ convenience and will meet the longstanding demand of the community,” explained Shafiq.
Lahore is Pakistan’s second most populated city and is referred to as the cultural capital of the country.
The flight will depart on every Tuesday from Doha at the early hours of 1.45am, reaching Lahore at 7.15am local time. The flight duration from Doha to Lahore will be three and half hours.
The airline has reserved an Airbus A310 aircraft offering the economy, economy plus and business class categories.
The other weekly flight from Doha to Lahore via Peshawar, departs, Doha International Airport every Wednesday at midnight. – RC

Pakistan emerges a market winner

By Tony Foley, Special to Gulf News
Published: April 12, 2008, 00:39

It is widely accepted that despite the US recession and a slowdown in developed markets, the world economy will continue to grow, with the prospects favouring major developing countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and, above all, China.

The tricky part is that it doesn't appear to be the case. The real winners are countries like Pakistan - so far this year's best-performing emerging market, with bags of untapped potential as political stability returns to the country.



Indexes have their limitations but they can identify trends and changes in investing patterns. In this period of global uncertainty they are also one of the few yardsticks we have for comparison. A glance at the Dow Jones Islamic Market Industry indexes, for example, finds that everything …

Pakistan an emerging market for foreign investment

LAHORE, April 20 (APP)- Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that Pakistan is an emerging market rich with exciting opportunities for foreign investment in all sectors. Prime Minister was talking to a three members delegation of trade leaders led by President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Tariq Sayeed, President FPCCI Tanvir Ahmad Sheikh and founder Pak-US Business Council and Vice President, SAARC CCI, Pakistan chapter Iftikhar Ali Malik a couple of days back at a luncheon meeting at prime minister secretariat.

According to President FPCCI, Tanvir Ahmad Sheikh, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said there is ample scope, coupled with significant opportunities for foreign private sector investment in Pakistan.

Premier observed that Pakistan is ideally located geographically with immediate access to the Central Asian Republics, and has a competitively affordable and expanding workforce of 36 million.

Pakistan’s foreign investment policy is open and liberal in S…

China, Pakistan to strengthen economic and trade ties

Updated: 2008-04-16 09:10

China and Pakistan have vowed to enhance economic cooperation, and to accelerate the achievement of $15 billion worth of bilateral trade, a joint statement released on Tuesday said.

Both sides are satisfied with current cooperation, agreeing to further strengthen exchanges and communication in the fields of economy, trade. science and technology, and culture among others.

China expressed its readiness to provide full support to Pakistan's economic development. Energy, mineral and mining sectors are among the potential areas of cooperation, said the statement.

China agreed to strengthen cooperation in the financial sector, and to extend more support for projects under the China-Pakistan Joint Five Year Economic and Trade Cooperation Plan.

The two countries agreed to enhance cooperation between economy and trade-related departments and sectors, with the aim of promoting cross-border trade.

Both sides pledged to take steps to upgrade transportation and com…

Pakistan to Sell Bonds Exchangeable Into State Fuel Firm Shares

By Shamim Adam and Shobhana Chandra

April 14 (Bloomberg) -- Pakistan's top debt manager said the government will sell bonds exchangeable into shares of a state-owned company for the first time in more than a decade.

Pakistan hired JPMorgan Chase & Co., Barclays Plc and ABN Amro Holding NV to manage the deal, the first since a 1997 issue, Ashfaque Khan, director general of Pakistan's debt management office, said in an interview on April 12 in Washington. ``It will most probably be in the first half.''

The plan indicates the government is confident in its ability to raise capital on global financial markets at a time when banks have posted billions of dollars of losses on complex credit securities. Sri Lanka, by comparison, won't attempt to sell international bonds because markets aren't ``stable enough,'' the head of its central bank said last week.

Pakistan's bonds will be exchangeable into shares of the state-controlled Oil & Gas Development…

UK to invest more in Pakistan

By our correspondent
KARACHI: British Deputy High Commissioner Robert Gibson has said that in the coming years his office will encourage more companies from Britain to invest in Pakistan and act as a significant proponent of the country as an emerging market for foreign investors.

In a meeting held with Waqar Malik, President of Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OICCI), he stressed the importance of taking a strategic approach towards finding and utilising investment opportunities in the country. he said that this will require efforts to maintain a favourable business climate.

Malik acknowledged the long-standing relationship that the two organisations have enjoyed over the years. He briefed Gibson about the role and ongoing activities of the chamber, the contribution of OICCI members to Pakistan’s economy and the role of UK-based companies amongst overseas investors.

He added that the overall business climate in the country is positive for foreign inves…

Chinese investors to generate employment by investing in Pakistan

BEIJING: President Pervez Musharraf has called upon the Chinese Investors to contribute maximum to the industrialisation of Pakistan to generate employment opportunities that would help curb the menace of extremism and terrorism.

Addressing the Pakistan-China Business Forum here Monday, the President pointed out that Pakistan offers great opportunities for investment in various sectors including joint ventures with a win-win situation for both sides.

He said that he personally feels that the environment in China and Pakistan “is very conducive for creating business opportunities.”

The President said that Pakistan is a big market with a population of 160 million. For the last five years the Pakistan economy has grown at the rate of over 7 percent while the GDP has more than doubled, he said, adding when the demand-supply gap reduces the profitability is increased.

President Musharraf told the gathering that more than 600 companies in Pakistan were earning a very high-level of profit.

He sai…

Pakistan economy continues to show resilience to domestic & internal shocks: SBP Report

Mar 31, 2008 (Asia Pulse Data Source via COMTEX) -- -- Karachi, March 31 PPI: Pakistans economy continues to show resilience to domestic and international shocks. Although the shocks have taken their toll, economy is expected to turn in reasonable growth performance during current fiscal year (2007-08), albeit substantially lower than target. This observation was made in Second Quarterly Report for FY08 of State Bank on State of Pakistans Economy released on Monday. SBP estimates suggest FY08 real Gross Domestic Product growth Free Report!The Only 3 Rules You Need To Trade The Market would be in range of 6.0-6.5 percent. This below target growth nonetheless remains strong, it asserted.

An unanticipated strength in international commodity prices is mainly responsible for cost push driven inflationary pressures in economy. These further intensified due to strong aggregate demand amidst a continuing fiscal stimulus. As a result, it is likely FY08 inflation would be in range of 8.0-9.0 pe…

UN report: Pakistan's economy to remain strong

ISLAMABAD, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan's economy is expected to remain strong growth of 6.5 percent supported by all sectors during the current year despite many challenges, according to a United Nations report released Thursday.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in its economic and social survey appreciated Pakistan's macroeconomic policies of the last six years, saying that these helped increase the inflow of domestic and foreign investments and sustain a strong economic growth.

The survey said that sound policies have transformed Pakistan's consumption-led growth impetus to the one in which investment-led growth can assume a more important role.

According to the survey, Paksitan's agriculture sector grew by 5 percent last year while the manufacturing sector's growth continued at 8.4 percent. The inflow of foreign direct investment amounted to 8.4 billion U.S. dollars last year, which boosted performa…